Most powerful Tomato supported router?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by lolque, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. lolque

    lolque Reformed Router Member

    What's the most powerful router that some variant of Tomato supports right now?

    I need something that can support at least 100Mbps with QoS, preferably able to support 1Gbps with QoS.

    I currently have 2 N-16's which only support <50Mbps with QoS, but I need something that can support my 300Mbps internet for 30 or so people in an apartment.

  2. lancethepants

    lancethepants Network Guru Member

    RT-N66u / RT-AC66U I believe are the most powerful officially supported. Both have the same 600mhz broadcom cpu.
    If RT-N16 doesn't even hit 50Mbps with qos, then these probably won't hit 100Mbps. Maybe at some point we'll see an arm powered device supported, but don't know when, or how they'll perform (though undoubtedly better than mipsel variants)
    For those kinds of speeds, probably ought to look at x86 software solutions like pfsense, for qos. Then just use the routers for access points.
  3. RMerlin

    RMerlin Network Guru Member

    An RT-N66U should be able to hit 100 Mbits without any problem with QoS enabled, provided you don't use overly complex rules, of course. Stuff like L7 filtering can impose a pretty steep performance hit.

    If you're wondering about the performance difference, with my firmware and HW acceleration disabled, I can hit around 350 Mbits of WAN-to-LAN traffic with an RT-AC56U at stock clocks. Performance would probably drop a bit more once you implement a few QoS rules, but it should still be able to easily break 250 Mbits IMHO.

    Routing performance of Tomato should be pretty close to mine with HW acceleration disabled, in theory.

    Beyond 500 Mbps, you will need pretty specialized equipment, or an actual PC.
  4. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    If 1gbps (1 gigabit per second) is truly a requirement, you should be looking at spending a good amount of cash (hundreds to thousands of USD) on a router from Cisco or Juniper. Consumer-grade hardware cannot reach those kinds of speeds, especially with QoS. You're going to need to work with an actual vendor and establish a relationship + get proper hardware + get a support contract.

    Otherwise you're going to need to look at buying a desktop PC (mid-range/mid-level) with gigE cards that can act as a router, and many switches (possibly the switches could do a form of rate-limiting, e.g. limit an Ethernet port on the switch to a speed of XXmbit/sec). You may want to look into things like pfSense, OpenWall, or m0n0wall, or try some of the others listed here:

    You will need to ask for assistance on their forums/their mailing lists. Be sure to state the same requirements you stated here (that you need up to 1gbit/sec and QoS). You may be surprised by the responses (e.g. how uncommon this type of thing is and how most people end up buying actual Cisco or Juniper routers for thousands of USD to deal with the situation).

    P.S. -- Do you really have 30 people living in a single apartment, or did you mean a MDU (multi-dwelling unit), e.g. an apartment complex?

    If the latter, you should consider what you're purchasing and my advice -- what you're making is an investment, and the last thing you want are renters who you advertise "up to 300mbit speeds!" to, but then they get nothing near it because you've misadvertised and the entire connection is being shared by 29 other people. I've seen this happen in my own area, which is why I avoid any kind of "apartment-provided Internet" like the plague. IMO, you're better off rate-limiting each dwelling/apartment to a maximum speed (ex. 300/30 = 1mbit/sec)), or if the devices support some kind of variable rate-limiting then go with that (x. 5mbit for approximately 10 seconds, then drops to 1mbit)). There are proprietary products that can do the latter.

    You will be very, very surprised at how far people will go, by the way, to subvert QoS mechanisms if you base it off TCP/UDP port numbers. I've seen this exact situation happen in Sweden, where an ISP there rate-limited each individual TCP connection to 30kbytes/second -- so the customers began using concurrent connection softwares (ex. FTP servers and clients which open up several TCP connections at once) -- to subvert the QoS rules the ISP applied. The ISP was unable to deal with that (there's no easy way to solve it), and resorted to hard/static rate-limiting.

    I did free co-located web hosting for almost 20 years, so trust me, I'm familiar with the nuances of dealing with people sucking down too much traffic. Hard rate-limiting is really the only thing that guarantees a person not get out of control.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  5. lolque

    lolque Reformed Router Member

    It's not a requirement, but would be nice since I don't want to buy new equipment every year when the internet speeds increase. The problem with getting enterprise grade hardware is that both Cisco and Netgear both refuse to reply to any queries I send them, and generally lack a nice QoS interface. I bought a Netgear small business router that claimed 1Gbps throughput, but the interface was awful and the throughput with QoS was even less than my N16's.

    I'm considering it. I might buy a 1U server and stuff it full of gigE cards. But I REALLY like the interface of Tomato, and it's easy to use QoS rules.

    I meant a frat house an apartment complex.

    Tried this at one point, but people ended up complaining.

    Probably isn't going to happen. It's more likely people get lazy and don't implement nice limits for their download/torrent clients.
  6. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    If you're a member of the frat then maybe you can convince some of the other members to donate an old PC or laptop and an extra ethernet card to the cause. QoS in firewall distros are generally almost as easy to use as Toastman's QoS, though obviously not already pre-configured for an apartment environment.
  7. lolque

    lolque Reformed Router Member

    Do you mind testing with a few QoS rules and posting some numbers? This is by far the cheapest route (imho) since Asus RT-N66's aren't that expensive compared to enterprise routers.

    Tempted to buy one. Throughput looks amazing, but the RouterOS WebUI looks a little bit clunky at first glance. Do you have any experience with these? How easy is it to implement Toastman-like QoS rules on it? Can you monitor live bandwidth per-IP?

    Which ones? Do you have a distro that you recommend and know is easy to do QoS and per-IP live bandwidth monitoring? I'm shying away from PC based routers cause of compatability issues and lack of support with mishmash hardware.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
  8. RMerlin

    RMerlin Network Guru Member

    Sorry, I don't really have the time these days to do a test setup (the RT-N66U currently sits on a shelve for development duties), flash Tomato, and figure out how to configure QoS on it (I haven't run Tomato in years).
  9. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    Why not talk to Microtik? There are so many vendors of products that could meet your needs... you just need to actually engage them. I'm not surprised Netgear didn't respond to you (I don't see them as a viable company for this kind of thing), but I am surprised Cisco didn't and would urge you to do it again (try using a phone, not Email). And while you're talking to people, as I mentioned, contact Juniper and explain your needs to them too.

    I'm certain one of these many companies can provide what you're wanting (whether or not it's within your budget is not my problem :) ). It's just that residential routers do not have anywhere near the kind of power that a desktop CPU does; that's one of many reasons why PC-based routers are popular.

    Just remember: you can't always have your cake and eat it too. In other words, if it comes down to it, you need to decide what's more important to you: throughput or GUI. If you asked me which I'd choose, I'd choose throughput -- why? Because 98% of my time would be spent using the connection, not 98% of my time spent sitting around in a GUI fiddling with QoS settings and saying "oooh pretty".
  10. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    Nobody will port Tomato to commercial routers because the license used by Jonathan Zarate within his code has never been fully worked out; all you'll find are copyright notices. People have asked him what the rules are, what license (if any), if they're permitted to do XYZ, etc. and he hasn't ever responded. So no company will touch it unless the license is clear, else they could potentially be sued.
  11. krum09

    krum09 Networkin' Nut Member

    A good small business line that has a good GUI and qos as well as what you need HP comware switch small business line

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. Connor McCaffrey

    Connor McCaffrey Networkin' Nut Member

    the rt-ac66u and most likely rt-n66u can not handle anything close to 100mbit with QOS on. they can allow the throughput through possibly but they definitely can not manage the QOS (if anything can its tomato)

    also keep in mind when comparing the rt-ac66u or rt-n66u to the rt-ac56u. the 56 has over 2X the power of both the other routers. with a dual core 800MHz processor thats a total of 1.6GHz of power vs the other routers measly 0.6GHz. almost 3 times the processing power.

    the most i have ever heard of a rt-ac66u or rt-n66u getting for throughput with HW acceleration disabled is about 170/180mbit on tomato. but i would love to see someone prove me wrong.

    here are my findings with QOS enabled and HW acceleration off on the RT-AC66U.
    RT-AC66U with Merlin-WRT- no matter what i set QOS to . it wont limit my download. it works on upload. but no matter what it wont limit download. it will just allow all that it can through. with Merlin-WRT it only allows 92-100mbit through with QOS on. this is WAN to LAN.

    testing PC to PC would be irrelevant because the user wants to limit 300mbit coming in WAN to LAN.

    RT-AC66U with Asus-WRT- same as merlin, no matter what i set QOS to it wont limit download. but it will work on upload. although this will allow my full 107mbit through, unlike Merlin-WRT

    RT-AC66U with tomato. it actually limits my QOS to anything i set it to for download and allows full throuhgput. but if i set it to anything lower then like 90 the latency gets soo bad its completely pointless and reversing the effect. its like the router is trying to limit it but it only creates problems. this is probably why in the asus firmware it simply wont limit it.

    so QOS will work at anything u set it to into tomato (tested upto 107mbit, maybe go upto 170/180) but with horrible latency if the number is much lower then your connection speed. so possibly even if you set it to 180 and you had 300 down. it would just create problems.

    the bandwidth limiter in tomato however could work. as thats what im using and its better then QOS for all i care.

    i dont think the rt-ac66u or the rt-n66u are good enough for QOS on a 300mbit line. but i would say the rt-ac66u is the most powerful router currently able to run a stable build of tomato. theree should be stable builds for the rt-ac56u anytime now! same goes for the netgear r7000 and if you want my answer the netgear r7000 would probably be the best router for the job. dual core 1GHz right out the box. no dangerous overclocking required like with the asus. i have a feeling it could do 300mbit QOS.
  13. Netwet

    Netwet Reformed Router Member

  14. Netwet

    Netwet Reformed Router Member

    @Connor, you could be right, according to:

    The R7000 is pretty fast, the question is when it is supported by tomato. A few month ago the devs said they are working on it, but there is not even a beta available and no info why. DD-WRT support for the R7000 is very good. I get the feeling by the time you see tomato on this unit, there will be much faster units. As far as I can tell you have to switch to dd-wrt right now if you want a fast consumer router. Or maybe wait for the new Linksys + OpenWRT support.
  15. cloneman

    cloneman Addicted to LI Member

    I think 150mbps-200mbs, if you fine tune the QoS rules and not have too many of them (no L7 like others have suggested) , is well within reach. You could always use 2 routers (if your ISP lets you have 2 WAN IP addresses). You should also use seperate devices as the wireless accesspoint, because providing wireless also uses a lot of CPU power.

    So potentially, your setup looks like 4x RT-N66u. At the very least, 2x would work, 1 for network/QoS and the other as a wireless access point only.

    Connor said download QoS doesn't work on merlin, I don't know if that's true, but it does work on shibby & toastman. (Tiomo QoS is the feature to look for).

    In my experience, you can also limit how much CPU your router is using by limiting the overall download speed. For example, if your router can't handle 300mbps w/ QoS on, but you cap your QoS to 250mbps, the router will not use more than this and therefore will work less hard. You're "wasting" speed but at least you're artifically removing the cpu bottleneck.
  16. Connor McCaffrey

    Connor McCaffrey Networkin' Nut Member

    why would he or anyone ever get 4Xrt-n66u? doesnt sound like a good idea to me using a wireless router just as a router is not a good idea. it would do it only if i had 2 routers sitting around. i would recommend ubiquiti ERL as the router but it doesnt support tomato

    my suggestions would be rt-ac56, rt-ac68, netgear r7000, or the upcoming linksys wrt-1900ac if you can wait 2 months or so (hopefully sooner)

    here is the order i would choose if i were in your situation

    1. wait for Linksys WRT-1900AC
    2. Netgear R7000 (not supported yet but should be soon, already working with DD-WRT)
    3. RT-AC56U (probably the best router with tomato firmware available)
    4. RT-AC-68U (not supported yet but soon)

    rt-n66u and rt-ac66u are both to low powered.

    in the future i personally hope to be using a Ubiquiti ERL for my router and the WRT-1900AC as my AP+NAS

    Ubiquiti ERL + Cisco Aironet 3700e + a NAS with RAID 1, or 5 would be my dream.
  17. Netwet

    Netwet Reformed Router Member

    There is a big question mark about the 1900AC. Linksys said they will provide an OpenWRT SDK. But OpenWRT devs obviously aren't involved in that, they did not state, that they are working on it. Thus nobody knows who will maintain OpenWRT builds. OpenWRT devs have no interest in supporting HW with closed source drivers, as it does not fit into their update policy. They need sources otherwise they are stuck on a certain kernel revision which is difficult to maintain for them.
    Thus before there are more details on the OpenWRT support for the Linksys I would not really recommend it.
  18. cloneman

    cloneman Addicted to LI Member

    Which tomato firmware works on the RT-N56U? Nevermind, I didn't realise RAF supported the AC56U
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